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Alves keen to return to winning ways

Barcelona defender Dani Alves insists that the club must quickly return to winning ways in the Champions League after falling ten points behind rivals Real Madrid in La Liga.

Pep Guardiola's side succumbed to a shock 3-2 defeat at Osasuna on Saturday and face Bayern Leverkusen in the last-16 of the Champions League on Tuesday aiming to get back on track in their quest for silverware this season.

"We are realistic, ten points is of course a big distance to bridge, but we have to keep believing in ourselves and fighting, there is no other alternative," said Alves. "We need a win here, we have to concentrate on ourselves.

"We have an enormous desire to keep winning, it's what we are used to," he added. "The mood in the team is unusual, because we aren't used to being in this situation, but we have to stay strong. We have to see that we have to keep working and hopefully things will come good at the end."

Guardiola knows how tough the German side will be at home, having watched them pick up three wins from three at the BayArena in the group stages. And the Barcelona boss wants to get the job done early on.

"This is a big motivation, the last-16 of the Champions League is a great thing for us," he said. "Bayer Leverkusen and their quality is my biggest concern, we have seen how good they were in the group stages.

"They can counter-attack well and they have good players like [striker Stefan] Kiessling and behind their forwards, they have good attackers who can control the game well. We need to play well, which is a requirement at this stage, we need a good result for the return leg. We have to show that we want to fight, there is no game as important as the next."

No team has ever successfully defended the Champions League title - AC Milan were the last team to claim back-to-back European Cup titles in 1989 and 1990 - and Guardiola is not concerned about the pressure of winning it again.

"Since Milan did it years ago, nobody else has repeated that," he said. "That shows it is difficult to do, but I don't think it shows how strong we are if we don't win the Champions League.

"These guys have shown many, many times how good they are and they are competing at the highest level. It will be hard to get the points back in the Spanish league, but we are going to try and do it, step by step."


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